Cannabis Needs & Knows


Disclaimer

The contents of this site are here provide information regarding cannabis, its products and method of use. The information presented should not be interpreted as an endorsement for the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, or of cannabis in general. It serves to communicate information and resources previously collected regarding cannabis, commonly referred to products derived from the leaves, flowers and resins of the cannabis plant.

Cannabis is also commonly known as marijuana, bud, chronic, ganja, grass, green, herb, mary jane, mj, pot, reefer, trees, and weed.

Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG)

Cannabis use can have short and long term effects on health. Cannabis can affect your thinking, physical co-ordination and control, increasing risk of accidents, injuries and mental health problems. Some who use cannabis may develop problems with dependence and experience withdrawal symptoms which can affect work, school, social or family life. The following recommendations are made to reduce the risks in using cannabis:

  • Avoid cannabis if concerned of potential health risks

  • Use later in life can reduce potential health risks

  • Choose low-strength THC products

  • Do not use synthetic cannabis products

  • Smoking cannabis (through a joint) is the most harmful method of consumption, posing health risks to the lungs

  • Avoid inhaling deeply or holding your breath

  • Limit use of cannabis to occasional use

  • Avoid use if you have a personal or family history of psychosis, substance use problems

  • Do not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery under the influence of cannabis

  • Do not use cannabis during pregnancy

  • Avoid combining any of the above risks

Short-term effects of consuming cannabis can include:

  • feeling high (euphoria)

  • memory impairment

  • sense of well-being

  • fatigue

  • relaxation

  • distorted perceptions

  • increased sociability

  • cognitive impairment

  • heightened sensory experiences

  • loss of motor coordinatio

  • over thinking

  • anxiety, fear or panic

Long-term effects develop gradually over time, with daily or near-daily use that continues over a long period of time. These effects can last from several days, to months or longer after you stop using cannabis. This may cause psychological changes, can include an increased risk of addiction and can also harm your:

  • memory

  • concentration

  • intelligence (IQ)

  • ability to think and make decisions

Top minimize effects, avoid:

  • use in early adolescence

  • frequent use and over a long period of time

The effects of cannabis may vary greatly based on individual responses, type of product, quality of product or may be even greater when alcohol or other drugs are mixed with cannabis. It is recommended to not use cannabis if you are concerned of any health risks associated.

Youth and Cannabis

Youth are especially susceptible to the negative effects of any and all drug use, including cannabis. As per Drug Free Kids, these negative effects are due to the extensive changes taking place in the brain during adolescence, especially the ongoing development and maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is critical to higher-order cognitive processes such as impulse control, working memory, planning, problem solving and emotional regulation. Scientific evidence shows that early and frequent use of cannabis has a number of negative consequences for youth, specifically around their emotional maturity. Regular use of cannabis during the adolescence may increase long-term risks of:

  • chronic cough and bronchitis

  • psychotic symptoms

  • anxiety and depression

  • developing dependence

  • poor school performance

  • risky and impulsive behaviour

The Cannabis Act is intended to prevent youth from accessing cannabis and displace the illegal cannabis market. The act imposes severe penalties for adults distributing or marketing cannabis to minors. It is important that all cannabis products and accessories are stored securely and away from children and youth. As with cigarettes and alcohol, early and open discussions about cannabis can help to educate and support youth to navigate their adolescence while making informed decisions.

Overdose and Toxicity

There has been no documented evidence of death exclusively attributable to cannabis overdose to date. To consume a lethal dose, using cannabis that contains 20% THC as an example, someone would need to orally ingest 75 times of what is an average amount of a very heavy user would use in a day (1,025 mg, range 652-1,336 mg). The delayed onset of edibles can lead to overconsumption in the belief that they have either not consumed enough or that an increased dose will lead to a faster onset of effects. These mistaken beliefs and actions could lead to an overdose. Cannabis and THC overdose can produce unwanted and potentially significant mental and physical effects, typically dizziness, disorganized thinking, poor insight and judgement, hyper-religious delusions, flat affect, grandiose delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, combative and agitated behaviour, paranoia, euphoria, rapid speech, flight of ideas, suicidal ideation, insomnia and depressed mood. Most symptoms will dissipate within minutes to a few hours with no lasting effects allowing users to return to a normal mental state. Here are a few techniques to help ease an overdose or unwanted effects:

  • Find a calm comfortable environment

  • Breathe deeply, using breathing techniques

  • Consume water and/or light snacks

  • Introduce aromatics (i.e., pepper, essential oils)

  • Activity (i.e., walk, stretching, music)

  • Shower and/or bathing

If symptoms continue to persist, please be sure to contact a health practitioner.

Before Consuming

  1. If you have not consumed cannabis before, have someone with you for first time use.

  2. Concentrates, edibles or oils administered orally can result in severe side effects and symptoms if used improperly.

  3. "Start low and go slow”, inhaling (smoking, vaporizing) effects may be felt within a few minutes and will generally peak within 30 mins. Acute effects generally last between 2 and 4 hours.

  4. Stop if any unacceptable or undesirable effects occur.

  5. Do not operate a vehicle after consuming.

  6. Cannabis must be purchased from a legal source.

  7. Do not carry more than 30 grams in public.

  8. Know and follow the rules about public use cannabis in your community.

  9. Do not consume publicly near schools, children or playgrounds.

  10. It is prohibited from going to work under the effects of cannabis.

If you experience any health issues, are using cannabis for medical purposes or have questions about the effects of cannabis on your health, speak with your healthcare practitioner.


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